Later this week I’m heading South to join a bunch of friends, some old & new, on another Adventure South returning clients trip. It starts & finishes in Christchurch but most of the time is spent on the West Coast & Northern South Island.
I have cycled some of this route before, the pictures below are from my previous trip, but as you can see there is no great hardship revisiting this lovely country. I’m hoping the weather cooperates, especially on the second day! Two previous attempts to cycle up/down the Otira hill — an insane Southern Alps descent — have been foiled by cold winds & torrential rain on that side of the mountains. This time it has to be good!
This trip is a mix of cycling, walking, kayaking and (as is usual with Adventure South) a healthy dose of eating, merriment & memorable moments. As usual I plan to take lots of photos to look back on.
It’s going to be fun but the web will probably be hard to find so blogging & twittering may be sparse, if at all until I get back.
The Plan (Subject to weather & other natural phenomenon…)
Day 1 — It’s off to Banks Peninsula for an exciting ride on the spectacular Banks Peninsula Summit Road, a picnic lunch with a view and some time in “French” Akaroa.
Day 2 — Early in the morning we’ll leave with our bus and trailer for a drive to Arthur’s Pass. From the township of Arthur’s Pass you ride to the summit and then it’s a fast and furious ride to Otira, then pretty well all the way down hill to Jacksons where we stop at the pub for lunch. Here, we’ll leave the main road, to cycle along quiet roads to Punakaiki.
Day 3 — There’ll be plenty of time in the morning to explore the area. We’ll take you for a walk along the spectacular Pororari River. After lunch we’ll cycle to Westport via Charleston and Cape Foulwind.
Day 4 — Today we’ll cycle north to tiny and remote Karamea. We start off real easy along quiet and flat coastal roads and pass settlements but then we’re heading inland up and over the Karamea Bluffs, which are challenging and offer spectacular riding with great vista’s from the top, to end up in Karamea
Day 5 — After an early breakfast we’ll take you to some impressive limestone formations and is surrounded by truly magnificent bush. We’ll find a good spot to enjoy our lunch and then we’re off to the airstrip for our scenic 35min flight over the Kahurangi National Park. Our day is by no means over because this afternoon we’ll take on the mighty Takaka Hill. From sea level we’ll steadily climb to 800 m, from the top, the views are great and the downhill to bustling Motueka truly exhilarating!
Day 6 — Motueka is the gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Today we drive the short distance to Marahau in the National park and hop on a boat that will take us to the marine reserve around Tonga Island for a beautiful sea kayaking tour in the reserve and to the nearby seal colony.
Day 7 — Back on our bikes today and again we’ve got a great cycle ride for you which will take us through the scenic Motueka Valley. We follow the Motueka River towards St. Arnaud where we spend the night
Day 8 — Today we are hoping for strong westerlies, which will help us to cycle east to Picton. Today’s lunch will be at a renowned winery in the middle of the famous Malborough Wine district. The Queen Charlotte Scenic Drive awaits us and that is a ride not to be missed! Tonight, we’ll stay in Picton, Malborough Sounds.
Day 9 — We start our day with a walk along the Queen Charlotte Sound. We gradually climb higher onto the peninsula and the views are spectacular. At the end of the walk, the bikes await us and from here we cycle via Waikawa to the east coast and Port Underwood.
Day 10 — Probably one of the best things to do in Kaikoura might be the swimming with the dolphins, although Kaikoura is best known for its whale watching activities. After a late breakfast we’ll take the scenic and quiet inland road to Waiau and cycle the best sections, before returning to Christchurch for our last dinner together.